Friday, August 12, 2005

There's a beautiful spot on the coast of Maine called Bar Harbor, because there's a bar in the harbor. It's a sandbar that's totally exposed at low tide and totally submerged at high tide. The bar goes from the mainland to a little island called, yup, Bar Island. The island's okay, but you wouldn't want to spend a lot of time there. Although some people do - a lot more time than they planned to spend. When our family walked across the bar at low tide, we made sure to check that tide chart to see when the tide would be coming back. As we were walking back from the island, the bar was already a little narrower than it had been - the tide was coming in. Then there were those intelligent tourists who waited a little too long to start back, and there was no way back! Now no one has to be stranded on that island. There is a way off, if you take it!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Escape from Lonely Island."

Lonely Island isn't on any map, but it's an island we all spend time on. Loneliness is an emotional island we can get stranded on when we have been isolated, or ignored, or left out, maybe forgotten, misunderstood, or even abandoned. Maybe even today finds you in the middle of another one of those lonely times.

The good news is that you don't have to be stuck on Lonely Island. Loneliness is ultimately not a prison sentence. It's a choice! Feeling lonely is unavoidable. It's part of being human, but staying lonely is a choice. Just like Bar Island, there are some steps to take to leave the island.

One way to make a lonely time a short time is to find someone who needs you; to reach out from your loneliness, even if you don't feel like it, to make a difference for someone else. At a time when loneliness leaves you thinking mostly about yourself, it's important to decide to look beyond yourself. Another antidote to loneliness is to expand your world, especially your circle of friendships. If you take the risks to reach out to more people, you can reduce your trips to Lonely Island.

But even with all our efforts to cope with the lonely times, a lot of us carry this gnawing sense of loneliness with us most of the time. It isn't necessarily that there aren't people there for us, it's just that those people have never been enough to fill us up inside. It's like there's always something missing. Well, there is - the One you were made by; the One you were made for.

The incurable loneliness in the human heart is cosmic loneliness. We're lonely for God. No earth relationship has ever been able to fill the God-shaped hole in your heart. In the words of the Bible, in Isaiah 59:2, "Your sins have separated you from your God." Your sins are all those thousands of choices you've made in your lifetime that disregarded God's way for "my way." So here we are, away from the one person who has the love we're looking for. The only person who knows why we were created; the person we will meet the moment we die.

For our word for today from the Word of God, consider this promise from Jesus in light of the loneliness you know all too well. Hebrews 13:5 says of Jesus, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Think of it - unloseable, unconditional love. Jesus' love for you took Him all the way to a brutal death on a cross, where He gave His life to pay your sin-bill with God. The one whose love you've been looking for all these years is yours the moment you tell Jesus, "I'm Yours." You are one step of faith away from the world's only "never leave you" love.

If you want to belong to Jesus Christ, I want to send you the booklet I wrote about beginning with Him called Yours For Life. Just let me know you want it by going to our website at yoursforlife.net, or call us toll free at 1-877-741-1200.

Your anchor relationship could begin this very day and never end. Never, no matter what else changes, no matter who else leaves. And you will have spent your last day alone.